Ryder said the dominant purpose of the police action was not to determine whether Miranda was involved in any acts of terrorism, but to “assist the Security Service [MI5] in accessing material in the claimant’s possession.” Exercising the powers under Schedule 7 was a “disproportionate interference with his right to freedom of expression,” Ryder said.

At one point Laws and Judge Duncan Ouseley asked Ryder what constituted journalistic activity.

Ryder answered that he believed raw source material could be considered journalistic if it’s being held with the intent of using it for responsible reporting.

Steven Kovats, an attorney for the government, said he agreed that some of the material had been used for reporting. But he added: “We do not understand that raw Snowden data is journalistic material.”

Bernal, the UEA lecturer, said it was hard to judge how the court would rule. “I am not optimistic for Miranda’s side,” he said. “The questioning has been tough and probing—the suggestion has been made that the publication of the stories has endangered lives.”

Thursday, the government will be presenting its case, in which it must defend the actions of the police and security services. “We have to wait and see whether the questioning is equally tough on the government side of the story,” Bernal said.

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Alison Langley has more than 25 years experience in journalism as a reporter and editor. Her stories have appeared in a variety of publications, including The New York Times, The Guardian, The FT and The Independent. She currently lectures in journalism at Fachhochschule Wien and Webster University Vienna.